Merriam-Webster removes Israel from 'apartheid' definition

Merriam-Webster removes Israel from 'apartheid' definition
2 min read
26 August, 2020
An example sentence using the phrase 'Israeli apartheid' has been removed from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary following complaints.
An automated programme pulls example sentences from the internet [Merriam-Webster]
American dictionary Merriam-Webster has removed a section citing Israel as an example of "apartheid" following complaints.

The online version of the US-based dictionary uses what it calls "recent examples from the web" to illustrate its definitions.

"As Israel prepares to formally annex the most fertile, most water-rich third of the Palestinian West Bank, will America continue to enable Israeli apartheid and the Hundred Years' War on Palestine?" read one such example, a sentence pulled from the Star Tribune to illustrate the dictionary's definition of "apartheid".

An email from a disgruntled reader contesting the example led to its removal from the Merriam-Webster website, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"It is, of course, never our intention to provide example sentences that may be offensive or inappropriate to any of our readers, and we do our best to remove those example sentences immediately when they are noticed or brought to our attention," said Carolyn Polis, the dictionary's correspondence coordinator.

Merriam-Webster's "recent examples from the web" are automated and "there are occasionally some objectionable example sentences that sneak through our filters", Polis said.

The dictionary defines apartheid as "racial segregation".

More specifically, the term refers to the policy of segregation and social and legal discrimination against non-white South Africans until the '90s.

Many opponents of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands also use the term to refer to the government's treatment of Palestinians.

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